Episode 117 – The Good Friends conjure up their thoughts on Sorcerer

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Sorcerer

Main Topic

We’re back and we’re scratching pentagrams into the floor, muttering blasphemous incantations and making ill-advised pacts with demons. This episode is our discussion of Ron Edwards’ influential indie RPG, Sorcerer. Kicking off a self-publishing revolution in the late 1990s, Sorcerer was arguably a manifesto as much as a game. This is not to say that it’s not fun or interesting to play. It’s a challenging RPG, but a rewarding one.

 

In our discussion, we make reference to the indie games website, The Forge. While the discussion forum is no longer active, its archived content is still accessible. If you have any interest in playing Sorcerer (or other indie games of the period), there are plenty of insightful threads to be found there. Another useful resource we mention is Christopher Kubasik’s Play Sorcerer. While the book itself was never completed, you can find several chapters on the linked blog. This is essential reading for Sorcerer GMs. Kubasik also created the TV series, The Booth at the End, which explores many of the same themes as Sorcerer. Finally, we mention the range of Sorcerer mini-supplements, as well as the excellent Dictionary of Mu.

News

One of the perils of recording these segments in advance is that sometimes the news isn’t as fresh as we’d like. We’ve already mentioned that Scott has been running his Call of Cthulhu scenario Blackwater Creek for the How We Roll podcast crew, but seeing that it came up in the episode, we shall take the opportunity to plug it again. You can download the recordings, along with many other Call of Cthulhu actual plays, from the How We Roll website. It was a fun game with a great bunch of players. We hope to do more stuff with them again.

As we also mention in the news segment, we will be attending Dragonmeet in London, on Saturday the 2nd of December. While we are not giving any seminars, we still hope to see some of you there and maybe have a chat over a pint.

Other Stuff

As you can plainly hear, we all had nasty colds when recording. Whether or not this made our singing any worse is debatable. It definitely sounds like we’re trying to conjure up unholy spirits from the very bowels of Hell, but this is actually our way of saying thanks. When particularly generous backers pledge $5 per episode on Patreon, we sing their praises. As you may surmise from the results, whatever we received in exchange for our immortal souls, it wasn’t musical talent.

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, Gaming Conventions, Roleplaying Games, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias | 3 Comments

Episode 116 – The Good Friends dig into The Shunned House

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The Shunned House

Episode 116: The Shunned House

Main Topic

We’re back and we’re digging into another Lovecraft story, looking for the horrors that lie beneath. The Shunned House is one of the more minor of Lovecraft’s major stories, if that makes any sense. It is a lengthy, substantial piece that certainly shares thematic elements with his Mythos tales, if not any explicit continuity. Whether or not this makes it an interesting or worthwhile tale is debatable, and debate this we do!

The shunned house of the story is a real place, located on the delightfully scenic Benefit Street in Providence. While attending Necronomicon this summer, we took the opportunity to make an unhallowed pilgrimage. It is someone’s home, however, so we did no more than lurk outside like a gaggle of creepy cultists. I imagine the owners are used to this by now. Despite the house’s evil reputation, we escaped with our flesh undissolved and no more than the usual thirst for human blood.

Paul shuns the Shunned House by the simple economy of turning his back on it.

As ever, we also look at the influences that shaped The Shunned House, its handful of adaptations and some ideas about what we can steal for gaming. Most of these ideas seem to involve flamethrowers.

To be fair, many of our Call of Cthulhu sessions end up this way.

In the context of gaming, we also mention Marcus Rowland’s excellent Forgotten Futures RPG. Rowland has used this as a vehicle for adapting many Victorian and Edwardian fiction settings to gaming. Of specific relevance to this episode is The Carnacki Cylinders, which draws upon William Hope Hodgson’s Carnacki the Ghost Finder. Listeners who like the scientific approach to monster hunting in The Shunned House will find much of interest here. The shadow of Carnacki (possibly cast by his electrical pentacle) lies large over The Shunned House.

We also make passing reference to the ongoing Lovecraft Reread column on Tor.com. Along with the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast, this is one of our favourite resources for gaining insights into Lovecraft’s work.

News

The first episode of How We Roll‘s recording of Blackwater Creek is now out. Scott, who wrote the scenario, takes on the role of Keeper and tries his damnedest to creep out the players. There should be another 7 episodes after this one, with the horror building steadily throughout.

We mention in the episode that we recorded the seminar that Paul, Scott and Mike Mason presented at the Milton Keynes Literary Festival. The topic was the relationship between RPGs and fiction, with a special emphasis on Call of Cthulhu. It went rather well, or so we believe, with a good turnout and some lively questions from the audience. Our plan was to release it by now, but it’s not quite ready yet. Keep an eye on your RSS feed and it should be there in the not-too-distant future.

Also, we have invited listeners to submit articles and artwork for issue 3 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the annual fanzine we create and send to all our Patreon backers. If you have a short article (300-1,000 words) or some black-and-white artwork, please send it our way. The deadline is the 20th of November.

Other Stuff

Once again, there is singing in this episode. As regular listeners know to their cost, we sing the praises of those who back us on Patreon at the $5 level. Both subjects of this episode’s songs presented unique challenges, but I think we had the ambition and hubris to tackle them. The refusal to acknowledge one’s limitations will take you further than talent and hard work. Well, that’s what we keep telling ourselves.

One of the recipients of our merciless song is the actual play podcast, The Esoteric Order of Roleplayers. We promised to link to them in the show, so here we go. Enjoy!

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, H.P. Lovecraft, Horror Films, Horror Stories, The Blasphemous Tome, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias | Leave a comment

Episode 115 – The Good Friends are transformed by Shub-Niggurath

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Mythos Deities: Shub-Niggurath

Main Topic: Shub-Niggurath

We’re back and we’re dancing around in the woods, bleating with ecstasy, smearing our mutating bodies with Mother’s milk. This episode is our discussion of the Lovecraftian deity, Shub-Niggurath. It is part of our ongoing look at the gods of the Mythos, continuing from our recent episode about Dagon.

Shub-Niggurath appealed to us greatly, as she is so loosely defined in the original fiction. Her evocative soubriquet of The Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young has inspired many writers since Lovecraft to find interesting uses for her. Her roles and identities in games and fiction are almost as numerous as her progeny.

In our discussion, we try to pin down where Shub-Niggurath came from and how she has grown and mutated in fiction and RPGs. We then build on this to offer some ideas about how you could use Shub-Niggurath in your own games. Her role as a corrupted and corrupting force of nature and her connection to witch cults make her suitably fecund inspiration, birthing many abominable ideas.

News

First of all, apologies for the delay to our normal fortnightly release schedule. As we mention in the episode, illness has made it difficult for us to meet recently. We’re back on track now, and we’ll continue releasing episodes every two weeks from this point. We hope you enjoyed the last of our special episodes from Necronomicon 2017, which we used to plug the gap.

Into the Darkness have released the first episode of their playthrough of the Intersections campaign from the World War Cthulhu: Cold War core book. Matt, who wrote the campaign, is the Keeper in a somewhat more American take on the game than we normally see.

As we announced recently, there is a new edition of The Blasphemous Tome in the works. This is the fanzine we produce for the wonderful people who back us on Patreon. We’re putting out an open call for submissions. If you have a short article (300-1,000 words) or some black-and-white artwork that you think would fit the Tome, we would love to see it. You can submit work using the contact form on this very website.

We also offer a fresh warning about the dangers of Attract Fish, especially if it involves kissing a Dover sole. Just don’t do it, kids.

Other Stuff

Be warned, there is singing in this episode, or at least something approximating it. As regular listeners will know, we rely on the generosity of our Patreon backers to fund the show. One of the ways we give thanks to them is to sing the praises of our $5 backers. This episode sees two such songs. Not having met for some weeks, we had a lot of pent-up creative energy. I think the sounds we produced this time number amongst our strangest emissions.

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, H.P. Lovecraft, Roleplaying Games, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias | Leave a comment

Special Episode – Necronomicon 2017 panel on favourite Call of Cthulhu scenarios

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Necronomicon 2017 Favourite Call of Cthulhu Scenarios Panel

We’re back — well, sort of. For the first time since we moved to a regular fortnightly schedule, some 2 1/2 years ago, we are unable to put out a full episode. I’ve been a bit ill recently, which has made it difficult for us to meet and record. We normally have a stockpile of episodes for such eventualities, but we’ve used them all up. Barring catastrophe, we will meet this weekend to record two new episodes, one of which will go out next week. This means we should still manage two proper episodes this month. Apologies if you are one of the recent backers we haven’t managed to thank yet. There will be songs next week! To tide you over until then, here’s the last of the special episodes we recorded at Necronomicon 2017.

This is the panel discussion about favourite Call of Cthulhu scenarios. Paul is joined by Chad Bouchard (AKA Keeper Chad of the Miskatonic University Podcast), Christopher Smith Adair (regular Call of Cthulhu scenario writer) and Badger McInnes. Once again, Mike Mason moderates. Each panellist chooses their favourite published scenario and explains what makes it so good. I shan’t spoil the surprises for you, but let’s just say that the choices are pleasingly eclectic.

Well, there are a fair few to choose from.

 

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, Gaming Conventions, Roleplaying Games, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias | 5 Comments

Special episode – Necronomicon 2017 panel on Call of Cthulhu campaigns

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Necronomicon 2017 Call of Cthulhu Campaigns Panel

We’re back with another special episode recorded at Necronomicon 2017. This time it’s the turn of the seminar about Call of Cthulhu campaigns. Once again, Mike Mason chairs the discussion, and Lynne Hardy joins Matt, Paul and Scott to nominate our favourite published campaigns and talk a little about what makes a campaign work.

Masks of Nyarlathotep - new cover

Mike also took this opportunity to announce the new version of Masks of Nyarlathotep. This was good timing, as everyone who had worked on the revision was on the panel. Obviously, we discuss the new edition a little, as well as some other new campaigns in the Chaosium pipeline.

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, Gaming Conventions, Roleplaying Games, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias | Leave a comment